How Do Smokeless Grills Work?

July 27, 2022
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Great Taste That’s Smoke Free

A smokeless grill you can use inside and get the same quality of outdoor grill taste sounds too good to be true. It doesn’t need charcoal, so there’s no need to use fire and create smoke. The grills have a unique design to prevent smoke.

Using the best smokeless indoor grill means you can eat delicious grilled meat when it’s cold or raining. You don’t have to worry about smoke or grease lingering in your kitchen and contaminating the air inside your home. But, how do smokeless grills work? Read on to find out if a smokeless grill solves your cooking needs.

Are Smokeless Grills Actually Smokeless?

The short answer is yes—smokeless grills are smokeless. The power smokeless grill uses electricity, so no flame creates smoke. The cooking surface slants so the fat rolls away from the heat source. In outdoor grilling, fat dripping into the fire produces additional smoke.

Photo of an Indoor electric Grill with Shishkabobs

Indoor Electric Grills Don’t Emit any Smoke from a Fuel Source

Since the food doesn’t sit in the fat, you’ll eat healthier foods from electric grills. The fat won’t stick to the grill surface, so it’s also easier to clean a smokeless indoor grill. When you clean a charcoal grill, you must scrape the grates, wipe down the lid and bowl, and empty the ash catcher.

After indoor grilling, let the device cool down before removing the plate and drip tray. Wash the parts with warm, soapy water and let them dry before putting them back in place. It’s a small job you can complete quickly. You can look for smokeless grills with dishwasher-safe components to simplify the cleaning process even more.

You can’t get the electric components of the grill wet, so you always need to remove the griddle and drip tray before washing them. You can use a damp cloth to clean the lid and legs of the grill, but don’t get the electrical parts wet. It will damage the grill and can be unsafe for you.

You can make cleaning more manageable by using parchment paper or aluminum foil on your smokeless grill. Parchment paper is safe at temperatures up to 425 degrees. If you grill your meal at a higher temperature, use aluminum foil instead. Cover the bottom plate and fold the paper or foil over your food. It still cooks through but never touches the cooking surfaces.

How Can a Grill Be Smokeless?

So, how do smokeless grills work? Electric grills are smokeless because you don’t need fire to cook the food. Electricity does the cooking for you, making them an effective indoor grill. The griddle plate tilts, so fats and grease roll away from the cooking surface. If they lingered on the heat, they might produce smoke, such as when you pan fry meals on a stove burner.

The design isn’t foolproof, however. Some indoor grills can still create a bit of smoke, especially if you’re cooking fatty meats. Bacon grease, for example, will always produce a bit of smoke. Lean meat, like chicken, on the other hand, won’t create any smoke. You can cook steak, salmon, and vegetables on a smokeless grill just as you would on a charcoal grill.

Charcoal grills produce smoke because of the briquettes, the flames, and the grill grates. Due to the high temperature of the fire, food sticks to the grates as it cooks. Even if you scrub the grates after use, food particles remain and will catch fire the next time you use the grill, creating even more smoke.

The nonstick surface of indoor smokeless grills means you can completely clean them after each use. As a result, you don’t have to worry about food particles or grease remaining in the appliance to create smoke the next time you cook with it.

Photo of Hamburgers on an indoor electric Grill

Non Stick Indoor Electric Grills Allow for Easy Cleanup

Smokeless grills also have fans and water trays to prevent smoke. The fans churn while you’re cooking to keep the smoke away from the grill’s exterior and push it towards the water tray.

How Do You Use Smokeless Grills?

Before you turn on your smokeless grill, ensure it’s on a flat surface. The grease could leak out if it’s uneven, on a slant, or unsteady. Leaking grease can be dangerous because of the high temperature. Instead of risking burns to you and your kitchen surroundings, keep the smokeless grill flat and steady during use.

You also need to stay aware of what’s around your smokeless indoor grill. It can’t be pushed up against the wall or stuck between other appliances on your counter. You should keep at least five inches of free space around the grill. Never put anything on top of the grill.

Next, fill the water tray. Two cups of water are typical, but larger models might call for more. Read the user manual to see how much water your grill needs.

Ensure all the removable pieces are in place. That includes the heating element, drip tray, and grill plate or griddle. Plug in the appliance, turn the fan on and then power on the grill. You can set the exact temperature or cooking style before adding the food.

The user manual most likely has information on how long to cook certain foods. You can also get a general idea of temperature ranges according to the type of meat. Recipes also have this information, so read carefully and watch the food on your indoor grill.

Why Do You Put Water in a Smokeless Grill?

Some grills, like many George Foreman models, have a simple clamshell design that cooks meat on both sides at once. Others need water to cook the food. The PowerXL grill is one type that uses water.

There’s a dedicated water tray that you fill with a certain amount of water, depending on the size of the grill. As the appliance heats up, the water absorbs any smoke the heat normally produces. Water can also absorb grease and food particles to help keep the grill clean.

Are Indoor Smokeless Grills Safe?

An indoor smokeless grill is safe because it uses electricity like your other kitchen appliances. The word “grill” in the name makes many people think of fire, which wouldn’t be safe to use in your kitchen. But smokeless grills plug into wall outlets, so there’s no open flame or fire risk if you’re using them correctly.

Though some fatty meats might still create smoke, it’s not enough to set off your smoke alarm. The griddle plates don’t produce enough heat to cause anything to catch on fire, so you don’t have to worry about charing your meat or vegetables. In addition, you can set the temperature on your indoor grill and know that the appliance also monitors the maximum temperature setting.

Since the grease and fat roll down into a drip tray, you don’t have to worry about them staying on the heat source and smoking. There are also splatter shields to prevent grease from jumping out of the grill and igniting something nearby. The hot, greasy air filters through the appliance so it doesn’t enter your home.

Allowing the grill to cool completely before cleaning also helps keep you safe. When you’re done cooking, unplug the grill and let it sit. You can remove most attachments and cooking plates to make cleaning simple. The user manual will tell you if you can pop any parts in the dishwasher for more efficient cleaning. If not, soapy water works great.

Washing the individual pieces ensures you’re not getting water on the appliance’s electrical components. Let them dry completely before putting them back in place so no water will drip into the machine. Never put the outer components in a sink of water. Instead, you can use a damp cloth to clean them thoroughly and safely.

How Does Indoor Grilling Taste?

You may be wondering, “How do smokeless grills work regarding taste?” Food from an indoor smokeless grill doesn’t taste the same as it would from an outdoor grill. But since the indoor grill is easy to use and clean, and you can cook on rainy or cold days, it has many benefits that make it worth the use.

Cooking with the Cuisinart Griddler Deluxe

Food from an outdoor grill has a unique taste because of the charcoal, fire, and smoke. You can use different types of charcoal or wood to infuse flavors into your food. You don’t have this option with indoor grills because there’s no need for charcoal. Instead, the electricity provides heat to cook the food, so you must season the meat and vegetables before grilling.

Photo of an Indoor Grill with Vegetables on Grill Plates

Indoor Smokeless Grills Can Be Every Bit as Flavorful as Their Outdoor Cousins

Sometimes outdoor grilling can make foods taste too smoky, though. For example, you can’t grill fruits outside because the smoke overpowers their natural flavor. However, you can grill fruit on an indoor smokeless grill and still taste the delicate sweetness.

It’s also easier to control the temperature of an indoor grill. Once you light the fire of an outdoor charcoal grill, you have to position the food just right and flip it on time, or else you risk charing it. Grease can drip into the fire and cause it to flare up. With an indoor grill, you can set the temperature and know you won’t burn your food.

What Are the Best Indoor Smokeless Grills?

As with any kitchen appliance, you can find an affordable smokeless grill or spend more on a premium brand. Check out these quality brands and find one that fits your budget.

The PowerXL smokeless grill includes a grill plate to give you those classic grill lines. It also has a griddle plate to cook sandwiches, pancakes, and eggs. The glass lid lets you check the food while it cooks. It’s under $100 at most retail outlets, and the manufacturer’s page often has discounts.

You can find many models of George Foreman smokeless grills for under $100. The compact appliance fits right on your countertop and is easy to use and clean. Some models have a clamshell design that cooks both sides of the food at the same time. Larger options look more like a traditional indoor grill with options similar to the Power XL smokeless grill.

The Ninja Foodi smokeless grill includes a griddle and seven different cooking functions. You can grill, BBQ, bake, roast, broil, air crisp, or dehydrate food with one appliance. As it can do so much, it’s understandably more expensive than the Power XL and George Foreman, costing $370. However, since it’s so versatile, it’s worth the investment.

Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me
Frank Salvatore
I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
Learn More About Me
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